Abba, Ikea…and Fika?
The Swedish are world renowned for blessing the world’s ears with the tunes of Abba and furnishing the homes of millions with Ikea flat pack furniture, but have you ever heard of the other four letter word Fika? Well, if not, you definitely need to get some Fika in your life!
It’s no wonder Sweden boasts one of the happiest and most work-efficient populations, when Fika (fee-kuh) is an integral part of a Swede’s everyday life.
The concept is so often used that it is actually classed as a verb (‘let’s go Fika!’) and a noun (‘do you need a Fika?’). Fika roughly translates to ‘drinking coffee’, however we believe defining it as this would seriously devalue the importance of this Swedish concept.
A coffee break with a difference
The concept of Fika is deeply rooted in wellbeing, placing an importance on slowing down to appreciate the smaller things in life.
Although it can be classed as a coffee break, the intent behind Fika is very different to your average UK or US coffee break. In much of western culture coffee is often a grab and go situation, frequently consumed as fuel to power busy office workers. However, in Sweden there’s no element of rushing or distraction.
Fika is meant to be a complete break, giving you time to reset your mind and body as it slows down the hectic pace of the working day.
There is no limit to how many times one can ‘Fika’ in a day. Fika is most popular once in the morning and again later in the afternoon. There are also no physical restraints to Fika. You can take it in a café, at home or even in the park, as long as you take time to slow down and enjoy good company with a coffee and pastry in hand.
Work benefits of Fika
Fika enables many work benefits. Whilst the key benefit is improved staff wellbeing, Fika has also been recognised to increase productivity, idea generation and mental wellbeing among workers.
The unique custom is believed to be so beneficial to work that many Swedish businesses make Fika breaks mandatory for all employees, often writing them into contracts.
The concept also promotes the idea of networking and connecting to people, whether that’s friends, co-workers, or even superiors. It’s not uncommon for a manager to sit down and Fika with their employees. Fika breaks down corporate boundaries and hierarchies, allowing staff in different positions to come together as equals to share conversations and time.
Fika further afield
Despite being a common tradition in Sweden, Fika is yet to be strongly adopted around the globe. That said, those further afield have begun to discover the benefits of Fika and are beginning to adopt the concept in their own lives.
Fika themed cafes have popped up in London, New York and Sydney in recent years, in an attempt to promote the Swedish concept to the masses.
Fika in Aberdeen
At neospace we realise the importance of Fika and this is why we have worked hard to develop our spaces to accommodate a healthy life balance. We recognise the value of winding down and resting, catching up with peers over coffee, and striking the balance between work and working out. We have fully considered the Fika movement in the design of our rest spaces.
The neospace juicebar & café and our lounges encourage a relaxed Swedish state of mind, spurring members and guests to slow down the fast pace of working life and take some time to rest and enjoy the small things.
Our café offers freshly brewed barista coffee from Scottish roastery Matthew Algie, plus a selection of healthy and sweet treats, so you can really get into the Fika mindset.
So now you know about Fika and the many benefits, will you try and incorporate it into your daily routine?